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The Giant's House: A Romance Paperback – Bargain Price, July 1, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; (6th) edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380730200
  • ASIN: B000A3WW1M
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,716,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

An unlikely love story about a lonely spinster librarian and a younger man, forced into loneliness because of his monstrous size. Peggy Cort, the reclusive librarian in a small Cape Cod town falls for a boy 14 years her junior -- one who grows to be 8 feet 7 inches and 415 pounds. Though initially attracted out of sympathy, Peggy soon finds she has much in common with this sensitive, albeit enormous man. A romance ensues, but the unique connectedness they share -- something neither has ever felt before -- is cruelly interrupted by tragedy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A platonic, decorous and achingly poignant love affair between a young man who suffers from gigantism and a librarian who is 14 years his senior is the focus of this remarkable debut novel. McCracken is not merely a born raconteur; she is also an assured stylist and an astute student of human nature. Narrator Peggy Cort, spinster librarian in a small town on Cape Cod, first becomes aware of James Sweatt when he comes into the library with his grade-school class. At age 11, James is already 6'2" and destined to keep growing. Peggy finds herself drawn to the gentle, lonely young man, both because he fills a void in her own life and because she is in effect adopted by James's loving but eccentric family. The reader is mesmerized by this low-key narrative, first lured by Peggy's alternately acerbic and tender voice, then captivated by James's situation and intrigued by his family, later engulfed by pathos as James's body begins to fail and, finally, amazed by a turn of events that ends the novel with a major surprise. McCracken also invests the narrative with humor, sometimes through Peggy's astringent comments and more often through the use of minor characters who add vivid color and their own distinctive voices. One thinks of Anne Tyler's Illumination Night as the closest comparison to this brilliantly imagined chronicle of a peculiar, unique relationship. And like Tyler, McCracken (who also wrote the well-reviewed short-story collection Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry), shows herself a wise and compassionate reader of the human heart. BOMC selection.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

At the end of this book I had to choke a cry & was smiling as I read to the end.
Jennifer W Lee
It's this mutual feeling of isolation and loneliness that allows Peggy to overlook James' height and his age to fall in love.
BJ Fraser
This book is beautifully written and the story is heartbreaking (but in a wonderful way).

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Turpin on March 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
M. Turpin
This amazing novel takes place in a New England tourist town where summers are unimportant: "In the dark privacy of winter Brewsterville's citizens were more likely to drink, weep, have affairs, tell off-color jokes, let themselves go." Similarly, the book's protagonist and narrator, Peggy Court, is a woman who lives silently, in the darkness of her own self-hatred. What makes this book captivating and upbeat is that Court finds her way out of her own darkness, and she does it by forging paths few others would imagine. "I wanted," the character says, "to out-Houdini Houdini, but in reverse. I wanted not to escape, but to enter, to insinuate myself into the smallest places in that house ... I wanted to get myself so caught they'd have to let me stay. Look, they'd say, how did she manage that? That space isn't big enough for anyone. Look at her: she's surely trapped."
McCracken is a rare combination: she writes like a poet, but has a gift for illustrious, fascinating characters. Her first-person narrator is so vivid and constant, that despite her obvious shortsightedness, you very quickly find yourself perceiving the universe unself-consciously through her eyes. Peggy Court is a woman so hollowed out by loneliness that even socks seem lucky to her because "Socks mate for life." She sees herself as unlovable, and describes herself as waiting for love "as though I were a pin sunk deep in a purse, waiting for a magnet to prove me metal." She is also a person oblivious to her rare ability to dismiss flaws in others and to value them despite their quirks: She warms to another woman because "I've always found a certain sullenness comforting," and says of her, "Even now I remember Mrs.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1996
Format: Hardcover
McCracken is one of Granta's 20 best young American novelists,
and she deserves the distinction. Her first novel is a romantic
look into the heart of Peggy Cort, a New England librarian, who
falls in love with the world's tallest boy. It's bitingly sarcastic
when it needs to be, and an odd, almost old-fashioned romance througout.
McCracken proved herself a brilliant writer in her short story collection
Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry, but here she proves to us that
exploring the nature of longing and the hidden spaces of the human
heart can be as funny, as sexy, and as adventurous as anything we'll
ever see at the movies.

You must read this novel--it will change your heart.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By jeffrey gross on January 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The Giant's House is a novel written as a romance - a romance being the notion of love between two people which encompasses one's being, one's existence. The story revolves around two people who suffer from distinct afflicitions - Giantism (an afflicition of the body) and lonliness (an afflication of the spirit). These 2 people - the giant and lonely librarian - develope a romance which fulfills the body and spirit and through this romance they each attain life's meaning and define their own existence. Their relationship is special as is this novel. Ms. McCracken - an ex-librarian herself - writes with meaningful words and a style which encompasses the vitality of romance. However, Ms. McCracken does not write what one may consider "a romance novel." She is not sappy with her words or her notion of romance. She is, however, true to the human condition of love we all yearn and dream of, no matter what ails us - physically or emotionally. A National Book Award finalist - this book is much deserved. We should all read and learn from this book about love, about the individuality of others and, above all, about the human spirituality of romance.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Almost no book can live up to its hype, and McCracken's is no exception. Had I read her novel before I'd heard it so highly touted, I might have enjoyed it a little more...but maybe only a little. I do not agree with the many reviewers who praise her writing style; the book is almost absurdly overwritten in a great many places: "I loved him because I wanted to save him, and because I could not. I loved him because I wanted to be enough for him, and I was not." Admittedly, there were some wonderful lines as well, but just not enough to make up for the those that sound straight out of "Bridges of Madison County."
I also agree with the reviewers who noted that the book spends far too much time on Peggy and not nearly enough on James (or really any of the other characters). Everyone but Peggy came across as somewhat "flat." At many points in the story I started to wonder if Peggy wasn't meant to be an "unreliable narrator" -- that is, that we were supposed to see her love for James as truly unbalanced in a way that she herself can't see. James is intriguing but just not fleshed out enough as a character for me to see why Peggy should be so obsessed with him. I really wanted to like Peggy -- it's so seldom that quiet, bookish characters get to be the center of novels -- but most of the time I did not, not because any of her "faults" (such as her straightforward declaration that she is not a lover of mankind), but, ironically, because I felt that McCracken tried too hard to make us like Peggy and to force us to see Peggy's point of view as a justified one.
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